Cannabis professionals are making a major decision that could have huge ramifications on the medical marijuana industry: Barack Obama or Mitt Romney? Or perhaps a third-party candidate, or maybe none of the above.
Usually, voters who are primarily concerned with medical marijuana have a clear-cut choice in the presidential elections (Obama won that distinction four years ago). This time around, however, many MMJ professionals are having trouble figuring out who deserves their vote.
Last week, MMJ Business Daily officially endorsed Obama to provide some guidance to professionals who haven’t made up their minds yet. You can get an idea of how fractured the industry is on this issue by reading the comments to that story, where readers expressed very different viewpoints on the presidential candidates.
We understand why so many professionals and advocates are conflicted this year given Obama’s crackdown on the industry. But, from a business perspective, we think he is still the best choice for the cannabis industry, primarily because Romney could be much worse and the other candidates don’t actually stand a chance.
The MMJ industry will have some power this year, particularly in the swing states of Colorado and Michigan. With polls showing Obama and Romney neck-and-neck in these areas, the sizable medical cannabis communities in the two states could realistically tip the scales in favor of either Obama or Romney if the industry is united at the ballot box. Now that would be a great way to show the power of MMJ.
Also last week, we wrote about some dark clouds gathering over the medical marijuana initiative in Arkansas. With polls showing an erosion of support and a group of doctors officially coming out against the measure, it now seems like a long shot that Arkansas will become the first state in the South to legalize medical cannabis.
Still, organizers remain optimistic as they attempt to counter an aggressive campaign by opponents that has painted a distorted picture of medical marijuana. Supporters recently started airing TV ads and should get some solid traction in the days leading up to the election.
“We’re facing a large opposition that has been able to get a lot of favorable press coverage,” said Morgan Fox of the Washington DC-based Marijuana Policy Project, which is involved in the Arkansas MMJ measure. “They are basically trying to scare people with what this might do – even though it’s not very realistic -rather than what it will do. People think it will be like what we see in California, when it will actually be similar to what we see in states (with more regulations) like New Mexico and Maine. It will be a challenge, but it’s definitely still a possibility.”
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